Praise for Declan Burke: “Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Emerald Noir: A Gem By Any Other Name

As flagged elsewhere on these pages, Val McDermid presented a rather fine BBC4 radio programme (produced by Robyn Read) on the phenomenon of Irish crime writing yesterday morning called ‘Emerald Noir’, although the demands of the lunatic asylum known as CAP Towers meant that I didn’t get to hear it until this morning, courtesy of the BBC iPlayer.
  A comprehensive romp through modern Irish crime writing it is, too, with Val covering the influence of the Northern Ireland ‘Troubles’, the boom-and-bust of the Celtic Tiger, and the crime novel as a Protestant art form. There are even shades of Winston Churchill, as Val compares Ireland to the Balkans as a place unable to contain the history bursting from its seams. Contributors include Ruth Dudley Edwards, Brian McGilloway, Colin Bateman, Declan Hughes, Eoin McNamee, Tana French, Stuart Neville, No Alibis owner David Torrans, and one Declan Burke, who is the editor of an - allegedly - ‘influential’ blog on the subject.
  John Connolly fans may be a tad disappointed that the Dark Lord doesn’t feature in person, but never fear - virtually everyone quotes John Connolly at some point.
  Meanwhile, Ruth ‘Cuddly’ Dudley Edwards has the good grace to mention DOWN THESE GREEN STREETS, the collection of essays, interviews and short stories by Irish writers on the subject of Irish crime writing in the 21st century, which will be published by Liberties Press next month. Nice one, Ruth.
  Elsewhere, Gerard O’Donovan - author of THE PRIEST - had an interview with Val McDermid in yesterday’s Daily Telegraph on the same subject. Quoth Gerard:
“Writers such as Tana French, whose Dublin-based psychological thrillers have topped the US fiction charts, and Stuart Neville whose soul-searing tale of a former terrorist haunted by his victims, THE TWELVE, have been swamped in critical acclaim. Writers such as the pioneering Ken Bruen and Colin Bateman, Declan Hughes, Gene Kerrigan, Declan Burke, Niamh O’Connor, Brian McGilloway and, dare I say it, myself are attracting not just local but worldwide attention. The Irish economy may be on its knees, the political system in tatters, confidence at an all-time low. But in crime fiction at least Ireland has never been so vibrant.”
 For the rest of the feature, clickety-click here ...
  So there you have it. Irish crime fiction: the cat’s meow, the bee’s knees or the dog’s bollocks? YOU decide.


Sean Patrick Reardon said...

Ther is so much great stuff contained in this post, I don't know where to start and can't wait to take it all in. Thanks for this!

Nigel Martin said...


I listened to the show last night, enjoyed it, particularly David Torrans'embarrasment at having gotten Brian McGilloway on to crime fiction in the first place.

Still not convinced about the protestant artform angle, mind you. My thesis is simpler - capitalism and freedom create crime, regardless of the state's religion.

ps. When is Green Streets available from?


Dorte H said...

Thanks to the Irish reading challenge I participate in this year I´ve moved on from knowing Tana French, Jane Casey and Rob Kitchin only to having read Colin Bateman, Brian McGilloway and Declan Burke - twice as many in a few months - and they are all very addictive!

Glenna said...


Any chance Down These Green Streets will be available in the U.S?